Onward and Upward

Thank you so much for the encouragement after last week’s post. This place is my favorite spot on the internet.

As I was wrestling with my own heart this week, I came across this scripture in my reading:

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

Dragging the shame of yesterday’s failures into today isn’t going to help us. We have to let it go. There are good things ahead. Our yesterdays happened, but it is our future that defines us, not our past. God is calling us onward and upward.

In the meantime, what do I do with the Failure Reel that keeps playing in my head? If perfection is off the table, how are we supposed to just forget what lies behind and strain forward?

These were my thoughts as I sat at my desk in the early morning, trying to get my head on straight for the day.

My body was tired, my mind was wandering—and not to good things. Five minutes after I read Philippians 3 and heard the call to press on, I found myself entertaining thoughts of the cruelest kind over things that had happened the day before. My heart started to sink into discouragement once again.

All of a sudden, a message flashed into my mind like a status alert:

Put your armor on.

You are getting pummeled!

. . .

The effect was similar to smelling salts.

As I straightened my posture and blinked away the fog, I could suddenly see myself clearly. I had been getting pummeled by every lie the enemy threw at me all week.

I had been absorbing every fiery dart as if it were truth piercing my soul. It had me feeling so defeated. But it wasn’t truth.

Truth doesn’t leave you discouraged. God might bring us conviction and even a holy grief over our sin, but He does it in order to give us abundant life, not depression.

I’d completely forgotten.

We are in a battle.

Last week we talked about John 10:10, how our enemy’s ultimate goal is to obliterate our faith and sidetrack our mission of following the Lord.

I don’t have to listen to that nonsense. And neither do you.

You are a child of God and you are here for a reason. The enemy knows this and is not going to leave you alone. We have to put on our armor.

What am I even talking about? Read Ephesians 6:10-18.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance.

Ephesians 6:10-18

This is a battle, and we have access to armor.

  • We have a belt of truth to wrap around our most vulnerable places, giving us surety where we need it the most.
  • We have the breastplate of righteousness. This is an impenetrable shield against our accuser. We are right with God through Jesus.
  • We have shoes of peace that enable us to be grounded and ready, come what may.
  • We have the shield of faith, able to render fiery darts completely ineffectual.
  • We have a helmet of salvation, protecting our minds with a knowledge barrier—that we belong to the Lord and that He is mighty to save.
  • We have the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God—a mighty weapon that can pierce through the darkness and defend us against attack.

We are strong in the Lord, in power of His might, not our own.

Through prayer, we connect ourselves to these mighty resources, staying alert and remembering we are in a battle.

And when we forget, because we will, we cry out to the Lord for help and encourage one another to suit-up again.

It’s not just our lives at stake, but our families, our communities, and the holy work that God has placed us on this earth to accomplish.

Forgetting what lies behind, we press forward, well-armored, to what lies ahead.

Onward and upward, my friends.

Onward and upward.

2 thoughts on “Onward and Upward

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s